Like Cock Jarvis in the novel he was unable to finish, Joyce Cary was for much of his life "A Conrad character, in a Kipling role". His instinct was wholly democratic, but he knew too much about Africa to chuck his job and dismiss the Empire as a racket. He had gone to Nigeria to work, and as a diligent DC he took his road-building, map-making and legal reform seriously. He had power, he had subjects. Quite different from the prowling journalist that Kipling was in India, or the ideological escapee that Orwell was in the Burmese police force, Cary had joined the Colonial Service to prove to his prospective father-in-law that he could take responsibility. Then he was inspired by a sense of mission. Africa provided him with the education he lacked; it was an impossible place - it made him a writer.
- From "An English Visitor" in Sunrise with Seamonsters: Travels & Discoveries by Paul Theroux